When marketing your business, your goal is to reach and engage with the most people possible. While email, websites and blogs supply customers with information, there is another medium that has proven to be incredibly effective at engaging prospects: text messaging. With its concise nature, timely delivery and prominent position on a customer’s phone, marketing via text (also known as SMS or SMS marketing) allows local businesses to engage directly with customers and prospects.

Vivial is pleased to announce the launch of Text Messaging, our newest mobile marketing service for local businesses. Unlike other marketing platforms, Vivial is one of the only providers to offer small and medium sized businesses a comprehensive solution for online, mobile and social marketing.

Three Reasons You Should Consider Using Text Message Marketing:

1. Mass Consumer Appeal

Text messaging is a critical tool for businesses looking to build, grow and increase loyalty with customers. After all, these customers spend nearly 5 hours a day on their mobile device (Source: Flurry Analytics). And since texting is the most used mobile app it’s no wonder 97% of people text at least once a day (Source: Pew Research).

2. Relevancy

Unlike an email newsletter that may get thrown into a spam folder, customers are more motivated to read text messages in a timely manner. In fact, 82% of people open every text they receive, usually within a few minutes. And most importantly, they read the text message content if it’s short and sweet—around five seconds of reading time. No wonder the open rate of text messages is 98%, versus 20% for email (Source: Adobe).

3. High Engagement

Text messages will not only reach customers but will drive engagement with them. In fact, 45% will complete the desired action of the text message (Source: Gallup). And 75% of consumers want to receive offers via text (Source: Digital Marketing Magazine). Why? Because most buyers consult their phone when making purchases. When product information, coupons and other relevant information is easily available, consumers save time (and money)!

How to Leverage Text Message Marketing?

Leveraging Text Message MarketingMarketing Messages

Make the most of your text messages by highlighting exciting news and offers from your company. Your business can engage with your consumer-base through bite-size promotions, event notifications, flash sales and special offers. You can even have offers exclusive to those customers who indicate they want to receive text messages, such as 15% off their next purchase or a free gift if they show the text at checkout. This targeted approach will not only bring in business but also entice others to opt-in to text messaging so they can access future deals.

Customer Service

Text messaging allows you to communicate with your customers on a more personal level. Gather feedback on how to better serve your audience by using polls, which—given the average engagement rates mentioned earlier—should have a significant response. You can even answer frequently asked questions directly via text, lowering response time and facilitating communication through one-on-one messaging. 

Product/Service Oriented

Text messaging is a great way to keep customers updated on the latest news about your products and/or services. Announcing a new product line or introducing a new member of your staff via text SMS is a great way to keep your customers updated about your business.

How Does Text Message Marketing for Small Business Work?

10-Digit Long Code

When you sign up for Vivial’s text messaging services, your business will have a dedicated local 10-digit number (long code) assigned to your account. Ten-digit codes are more personal, easy to use, and more cost-effective for small businesses.

Length of Message

Text messages have a 160-character limit. This includes characters, spaces and punctuation. To maximize your impact, always include one main, yet powerful message within your text.

Opt-In

Before any messages are sent, a customer must give permission, known as “opting-in.” To allow you to send texts, the customer will send a keyword, usually JOIN, to your company’s 10-digit long code. Then, your services will auto-reply with a confirmation message. This message should contain terms and conditions, message frequency and opt-out instructions. It’s also a best practice to offer the customer something in return for opting-in. A special offer, a free product or even a simple thank you will go a long way in helping to build your opt-in list.

What Types of Text Messaging Does Vivial Offer?

Types of Text Messaging offered by VivialGroup Messages

Group Messages are an excellent way to promote your business and extend your reach. These text messages are sent to all opted-in customers and are a great way to communicate with a large group at once. The most common group message invites consumers to directly engage with your business. Here are a few examples:

Example of group text message marketing

Wondering how else you can leverage group messages? Vivial’s on-demand Account Coordinator team will work with you to brainstorm additional ideas for your business.

Direct Messages

Direct messages are one-on-one communication with your customers. You can send appointment reminders, purchase confirmations, receipts, order details, and surveys to gauge customer experience. This type of messaging is most useful when you need to contact an individual customer about your services. Examples of direct messages are:

Examples of Direct Text Message Marketing

Direct messages allow you to create personal, timely and relevant messages that are designed to increase customer satisfaction and grow your revenue.

Auto Reply Keywords

Customers can receive more information by sending a specific keyword in response to your 10-digit long code. An auto reply message can offer immediate answers to common questions such as directions to your location, store hours, and event details. Keywords should be short and ideally relate to what the customer receives in the response. For location details, for example, you could set the keyword “DIRECTIONS,” which would send the customer a link to maps or a Google My Business profile.

Auto reply keywords also work for promotions and expanding social media reach. For example:

  • A restaurant could set the keyword “SWEET” for a coupon for a free dessert with a diner’s next meal
  • To drive more traffic to your Instagram, setting “INSTA” as one of your options could send users a link to your profile
  • Any business could use “DEAL” or “OFFER” to promote current sales, restaurant specials and more

Vivial offers local business’ five custom auto reply keywords, along with four standard ones necessary for user opt-in abilities. The four provided auto reply keywords are:

  • JOIN: to send the initial opt-in message
  • YES: to confirm the customer’s opt-in
  • STOP: to allow customers to opt-out
  • HELP: to provide directions for the options listed above

With Vivial’s solution you can change your keywords at any time. This ensures your text messaging is always supporting your other marketing initiatives. Your on-demand Account Coordinator team can help formulate a list of keywords ideal for your business.

How to Promote Text Message Marketing for your Business

Once you have your text messaging set up, you need your existing and potential customer base to get on board.

To get the word out, take advantage of your current marketing efforts. On your website, in your emails, on your social media, even on promotional materials like posters, vehicle signage, and billboards, add a simple line stating:

“Text ‘JOIN’ to [your business’s 10-digit code]”

Vivial will even include your text message marketing information on your NearSay profile. A good rule of thumb is including this information anywhere you would put a URL or phone number.

SMS Marketing Rules & Regulations You Should Consider

Text messaging does have a number of compliance obligations and is not without risk. Vivial will provide resources to help our customers understand the text messaging compliance landscape.

What You Should Look for in a Business SMS Platform/Service

SMS Marketing PlatformIntegrated Marketing

Text messaging is an important complement to your other marketing efforts. Yet juggling multiple marketing efforts is a difficult task for even a skilled marketing professional. Fortunately, you can enlist the help of a service that will handle it all under one roof.

Vivial’s integrated marketing platform ensures your comprehensive strategy is working in unison to bring in customers. For instance, your content strategy can highlight how to opt in at the end of every article, while your website reinforces this message on its homepage. Social media posts can encourage opt-ins and promote special offers exclusive to mobile subscribers. Your Vivial account coordinator will work with you to ensure your messaging efforts have the most impact.

Ease of Use

With a marketing strategy that is meant to be inherently simple, choose a company that makes the job uncomplicated. Since texts are so brief—usually only a sentence—it’s simple to send them yourself if you’re armed with a user-friendly platform and a list of best practices. At Vivial, our on-demand account coordinator team will walk you through our Dashboard, showing you how to deliver messages, set up keywords, and analyze data for texts you’ve sent.

Our Dashboard is designed to be easy to use, with a clear breakdown of how many texts you’ve sent this cycle, as well as a section to input new messages. From contacts and opt-in customers to active keywords, you’ll have all the info you need on one organized page.

How to Get Started With Text Message Marketing for Your Business

If you’re interested in developing a text messaging campaign for your business, Vivial offers an exceptional integrated marketing experience. Small businesses around the country turn to our company for marketing solutions like social media management and content marketing. Our team of dedicated writers, editors, strategists, and coordinators will ensure your marketing delivers results.

For more information about text messaging and other online, mobile and social solutions, contact us today.